Denali National Park and Denali State Park are magnificent in every respect. Over 6 million acres, the park area is larger than several American states. Wildlife abounds in the Park and there are a number of things that you should schedule during your trip. The entrance to the park is an easy drive of 130 miles north of Anchorage.
Here are five must see destinations within the Park:
Denali itself – otherwise known as Mount McKinley, is the highest peak in all of North America. The single most impressive reason to visit Denali National Park is to get a good view of the mountains, particularly Denali itself.
There are several ways to get a complete view of the mountains, but among the best is the 92 mile park road. The first 15 miles is paved and can be done in a private vehicle. Beyond that for the rest of the trip, you must ride in one of the authorized busses that are allowed to make the trip. The road is gravel, single lane and at points runs along aside steep hillsides.
All bus trips start at the Denali National Park Wilderness Access Center and there are different bus types and schedules. Shuttle busses allow the rider to get on and off the bus at points along the road. Some camper busses cater to those that are hiking or backpacking through the park. Tour busses are for those that want a guided tour from the Center to a further point with an explanation of the various high points of the views.
Covering the wide variety of landscapes, set aside a full day at the minimum.
Wildlife – A second destination is to arrange a trip to view the abundant wildlife that lives in the area. While it is likely that you will see wildlife on the bus trips on the park road, other operators conduct trips uniquely oriented towards wildlife sightings. Many trips are along the river and stream bottoms where bear, moose and other animals congregate.
Trails – Trails abound throughout Denali National Park. Whether hiking, cycling or riding on an all-terrain vehicle, check in with the Park to find where and when you can take advantage of the extensive trail network.
Outdoor activities – hiking, cycling, and fishing – Plan to take advantage of the great outdoors. Whether you want to hike the trails, cycle through those parts of the Park that will allow that or go fishing in some of the pristine waters that abound in the area, a visit to Denali is the perfect time to satisfy your desire to participate in outdoor activities. Fishing on the streams of the Park will result in a real memory. Plan to fish the smaller streams as the larger rivers are clouded by ground rock.
Winter outdoor activities include snowmobiles or cross country skiing that can create some wonderful day trips. Care and planning are absolutely necessary to avoid the obvious concerns about being in a wilderness area during an extreme winter weather event.
Civilized Attractions – Outdoor and sightseeing activities are great, but a good meal out or a trip through a place to buy a few mementos of the trip should also be on your list. Take a look at the commercial activities in Nenana Canyon, just inside the park entrance.
Other such destinations are some of the lodges and resorts in the area where a comfortable bed comes with a great place to eat and an awe-inspiring view.
Planning a trip to Denali? Plan to take advantage of all of the great attractions the area has to offer.